BANKERS (and you can spell the word anyway you like) and professional footballers seem exempt from the financial hardship affecting the rest of us.

I wrote the other week about how English footballer Jermaine Pennant left his £98,000 Porsche in a car park in Germany when he got a transfer back to this country.

This week, it was reported that Stewart Downing, having just about everything else, spent £45,000 on a home cinema. Surely, it would be cheaper to get a season ticket to the Odeon?

This profligacy prompted Malcolm Waddington, of Meltham, to send me a Huddersfield Town programme for March 7, 1959 when Town beat Ipswich 3-0 in the Second Division. It contained a statement from the Football Association and the Football League.

This was when footballers wages were capped at £20 a week and players were agitating for this stricture to be removed. The FA and FL were at pains to point out the other benefits players received.

They could get a win bonus of £4 and a draw bonus of £2, plus extra for appearing in FA Cup ties, ranging from £4 in rounds one and two, to £25 for being in the final. The winning team of the Cup got £1,000 while the runners up got £880; appearances in the European Cup went from £10 in round one to £50 for appearing in the final.

What was called “talent money” was also paid to the top four teams in each of the four divisions. But they were very modest.

Players transferred at the request of their clubs, got their removal expenses paid plus up to £300. When on tour outside England and Wales, players could also expect £2 a day out of pocket exes.

“The Football League Vocational Training Scheme also encourages a player and pays the whole or part of his expenses and fees while studying for some other trade or occupation,” the statement said.

Oh and in 1959 the price of the newly launched Mini was £496.

It is all a far cry from today when wages can be as high as a million pounds a month. I shall repeat that: a million pounds a month.

Just imagine what the greats of yesteryear earned then and would be worth now? What would a club pay Denis Law today?

Of course Law never really needed the money. When Bill Shankly brought him to Huddersfield from Aberdeen in 1955 at the age of 16, he did not enjoy nightclubs and fast cars.

He was paid a minimum wage, put up in digs with a landlady and sent to Huddersfield Technical College by Shankly to learn how to become a painter and decorator – just in case a career in football did not pan out.

How times have changed.